Pharmac seeks feedback on a biosimilar brand of adalimumab being considered for funding

Media release Medicines

Pharmac is considering awarding Principal Supply to a biosimilar brand of adalimumab (Amgevita) from 1 February 2022. Consultation on the proposal opens today.

What is a biosimilar

Adalimumab, as Humira, is already funded for a number of gastroenterology, rheumatology, dermatology and ophthalmology conditions.

“Amgevita is currently used in more than 40 countries around the world and is approved by Medsafe as a safe and effective medicine,” says Pharmac’s director of operations Lisa Williams. “As a biosimilar, Amgevita is considered highly similar to the current brand of adalimumab (Humira) that we fund.

“We expect most patients who take adalimumab would be able to change to the Amgevita brand of adalimumab. We are, however, proposing that we fund Amgevita under Principal Supply status,” says Lisa.

This would mean that Amgevita would be the main brand funded, with an allowance for those people who might need to stay on, or return to, Humira if required.

“Prescribers would be able to evaluate whether their patients should continue receiving, or go back to receiving, funded treatment with Humira if they have concerns about how they will transition to Amgevita.”

If Pharmac approves funding for Amgevita, new people starting adalimumab treatment from 1 February 2022 would receive Amgevita. People who have been on adalimumab (Humira) since before 1 February 2022 whose prescribers think they can change would need to move to Amgevita before 31 August 2022.

“We are also seeking feedback on proposed changes to the current funding criteria. We are considering approving people to stay on their treatment for two years, instead of the current six-months, before further assessment and application for a Special Authority renewal would be required,” says Lisa. “We are also considering removing dosing restrictions, allowing clinicians to more freely adjust dose and dose frequency to suit their patients.”

If Amgevita is approved, we believe that more than 700 people would benefit in the first year from these changes in access.

Pharmac’s consultation on adalimumab is open to everyone. Feedback is requested by 22 September 2021.